EQUIPMENT FOCUS: Operator-centered

May 5, 2011

More power and exceptional dig depth and reach don’t matter if the operator fatigues quickly during demanding jobs. That’s why the newest lineup of loader backhoes offers numerous features to make the operator more comfortable, and as a result, more productive.


More power and exceptional dig depth and reach don’t matter if the operator fatigues quickly during demanding jobs. That’s why the newest lineup of loader backhoes offers numerous features to make the operator more comfortable, and as a result, more productive.

Cat’s 450E, for example, has controls within easy reach so the operator can focus on the job. The Case N-Series includes adjustable controls to accommodate operators of all shapes and sizes. Several models, including John Deere’s 315SJ, have floor-to-ceiling windows for an unobstructed view of the jobsite. Kubota’s L3800 also has an ergonomically designed suspension seat to reduce fatigue even during extended work hours.

Of course, all the featured models also are prepared to tackle the toughest jobs. Volvo’s redesigned backhoe can rotate the bucket 205°, eliminating the need to reposition the machine during vertical digging. Terex’s curved boom design gives operators more clearance to reach over obstacles, and New Holland managed to boost its engine to 108 hp while increasing fuel efficiency by 10%.

Quiet comfort

The new N Series of Case loader backhoes replaces the M Series 3 line. The four models all have 4.5-liter, turbocharged engines ranging from 79 hp to 108 hp. The Case-exclusive Power Lift feature channels hydraulic power directly to the boom at the touch of a button. The N Series also was built with the operator in mind, with floor-to-ceiling windows, all-season heating and air conditioning, and adjustable controls. Additionally, it has one of the industry’s quietest cabins at just 72 decibels.

Tight quarters

The John Deere 315SJ backhoe is ideal in areas with limited digging space and close-quarter obstacles. With 23 in. of side-shift capability to either side, operators can work around obstacles with excellent visibility to the bucket and dig square excavations without moving the machine. Standard limited-slip mechanical front-wheel drive delivers 75% of available power to the front wheels. Customers can engage mechanical front-wheel drive “on the fly” for true all-wheel drive in difficult terrain. A lighting package allows customers to operate with 10 adjustable work lights.

Powerfully efficient

New Holland’s upgraded B Series of loader backhoes features 4.5-liter turbocharged engines ranging from 95 hp to 108 hp. The machines also have breakout forces of up to 15,212 lb, making them ideal for grading and land-clearing applications. Pilot backhoe controls deliver up to 10% better fuel efficiency, and floor-to-ceiling windows provide excellent visibility. Two transmission options—Powershuttle or Powershift—are available to match the operator’s needs. A curved boom design decreases transport height while simultaneously increasing digging power.

Fewer components

The excavator boom on Volvo’s redesigned B-Series loader backhoe has a narrow, tall arch design that uses a box-welded approach with fewer components and welds for strength, durability and performance. The bucket can rotate 205°, allowing vertical digging in all positions without repositioning the machine. Bucket-loader capacities range up to 1 cubic meter, and the backhoe excavator buckets have a maximum volume of 0.33 cubic meter. The four-cylinder 4.8-liter engine is turbocharged and features direct injection, and it meets Stage IIIA emissions legislation.

More clearance

Engineered to excel in digging, reaching, lifting and loading applications, the Terex TLB840 backhoe loader is built to work for the operator. It has an 88-hp Perkins engine with an optional 4-speed servo power syncro transmission with automatic shifting. A curved boom design gives operators greater clearance to reach over obstacles and load closer into trucks for greater productivity. The TLB840 also features a dig depth of 14 ft 9 in. and a reach of up to 18 ft 9 in. for easier backfilling and slewing uphill. It also has a load height of 11 ft 3 in.

Work longer

Kubota’s L3800 backhoe provides excellent efficiency with the ability to work longer. The front loader boasts a lifting capacity of 1,490 lb and bucket breakout force of 2,462 lb, while the backhoe offers a curved boom that provides easy visibility and a digging depth of 92.5 in. The contoured suspension seat is ergonomically designed to reduce fatigue, even after long work days. The new dash panel features easily visible gauges, optional cruise control and a toolbox behind the driver’s seat for easy access. The one-piece front hood also can be easily opened for quick access and maintenance.

Improved mobility

The Cat 450E features a 124-hp, C4.4 engine that meets all Tier III emissions requirements, and lets operators get more done with less effort. The machine can go up to 25 mph for faster travel between jobsites. It also has 4WD features for improved mobility and performance in poor traction conditions. The 450E features a standard dig depth of 17.2 ft and 22-ft reach, and it can load more than 14.5 ft high. The all-new operator station has been designed to maximize comfort and productivity, with more legroom and excellent visibility to the front bucket. All controls also are designed for maximum operator benefit.